Saturday, April 19, 2014

Keepers At Home Awards Night

Monday night was our annual Keepers At Home Awards Night.  After meeting once a month throughout the school year to work on earning pins, we end our year with a nice evening of fellowship and refreshments.  The girls' families are invited to see them receive their award pins.

 Leah with the pretty table.  Amy made the pretty pink cake, and Lynn arranged the beautiful flowers. 

 Here is a picture of Lynn and me--NOT in running clothes!  These kinds of pictures of the two of us are few and far between!  And, I am not really taller than Lynn--I have on heels!

Leah was so happy to earn so many new pins to put on her banner!

This year Leah earned 10 pins.
  • General Bible Memory:  for learning a passage of Scripture once a week.
  • Psalm 103 (memorizing)
  • Psalm 1(memorizing)
  • New Testament Bible Reading:  Over the last 14 months, Leah read the entire New Testament. 
  • Obedience
  • Macrame'
  • Jump Rope
  • Duck Tape Projects
  • Stenciling
  • I can't remember the last one!  I'll ask Leah when she wakes up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mississippi 8.11K

Last Friday we traveled to Jackson for the Saturday morning 8.11K race.  That's 5 miles.  Jimmy's uncle Sam Johnson, works for Mississippi 811 (the call before you dig people), and he invited us to run in this race.

Friday night we enjoyed a meal at Red Lobster with Sam and some of his fellow crew members.  Saturday morning we went to the Beagle Bagel for an early breakfast before the race.  When we lived in Jackson for nine years, eating breakfast at the Beagle Bagel was a regular thing for us, especially on Saturday mornings.  They have the best bagels ever!  And the coffee is super too.

Then it was on to the race.  Leah, Sam, and I watched, while Jimmy, Julie, and Clay ran.  I also helped work the finish line.  My parents met us to spectate and cheer too, and afterwards we all had lunch together.  We drove on back home after lunch, and got here just in time to get ready for our monthly family Bible study.

It was a fun trip.  Here are some photo highlights.

 Sweet Leah

 Sweet Sam

 Leah and Sam with my parents--Mims and Pops

 Sam Johnson and Sam Johnson

 Julie, Pops, and Clay
Clay got his braces off last Thursday!

 Jimmy and Uncle Sam

 Matt and Pops
Matt is a childhood friend of mine.  He still lives in our hometown, and he runs lots of races.  He even ran the Tupelo Marathon last year!

Julie and Uncle Sam

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Some Things About Sonlight

Today I have a post over at The Homeschool Classroom.  It is called, "Five Things You May Not Know About Sonlight".

I share a few things that I have learned along the way as well as how we use Sonlight in our homeschool


Monday, April 7, 2014

It's Monday

We had a normal Monday today.  Lots of laundry from the weekend.  A full day of schoolwork.  Piano lessons for Julie, Clay, and Leah and gymnastics for Leah.  I had no time for yard work, but it was too cold outside today anyway!  We had lots of rain last night, so maybe my garden will grow!

Jimmy and the boys bought 100 more bags of mulch tonight….all ready for me to put out!  We have to go have pictures made for our homeschool yearbook and also cross country practice tomorrow, so I doubt I will have any yard time tomorrow.  Maybe Wednesday afternoon.

I had a nice, long phone conversation with Olivia today.  We text, talk, or email every day, but longer talks like today are so pleasant.  I still write her a letter most days.  I just keep her updated on the happenings around here and try to offer words of encouragement.  The children write her letters or draw her pictures frequently too.  We try to make sure she gets plenty of mail!  She will be home for the summer in about 3 weeks!

Leanna and I have a run planned for Friday morning.  I cannot wait to run outside again.  Lynn and I ran together one day last week, and it was so nice.  I really miss my running/therapy sessions!

I hope your Monday was a pleasant one.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Yesterday I spent from 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM (with only two short breaks:  one for lunch and one to put supper in the oven) working in my flower beds.  Before I began, our flower beds looked like overgrown jungles.  The mulch was almost gone, the beds were covered in leaves and weeds, lots of big clumps of weeds, and my shrubbery and monkey grass had grown completely out of control.

I had a lot of work to do.  And of course, I thought I could do it all in one day!  I was wrong.  I have two beds in the front of our house, two in the back, one small one in the front yard, and two gigantic ones on one side our our house.  One of those gigantic ones is actually enormous!  It is actually two huge beds with a walkway between them.  So what did I get accomplished yesterday?

All shrubs trimmed in the two front beds and the two (really three) side yard beds.
All monkey grass trimmed (by hand, using scissors) in those same beds.
All trimmings, leaves, debris, etc., hauled off with the wheelbarrow down to our "mulch pile".
20 bags of mulch spread out in the two front beds.

And I am so sore I can hardly walk around!  I feel like I ran a marathon!

I don't have another full day to devote to yard work in the near future, so the rest of the work will have to be done in 30 minute to 1 hour intervals, as I have time each day.

This afternoon I plan to complete my presentation on home and homeschool organization and planning, that I will give this Thursday night.  I have worked on it a little bit here and there, but today is the day that I plan to finalize it.  I will blog my notes when I finish.

P.S.  I realize that if you don't live in the south, you may not know what monkey grass is.  I have the variegated kind that grows in clumps, not the dark green kind that spreads and serves as a ground cover if you don't keep it pruned.  The official name for the monkey grass that I have is called liriope muscari.

P.P.S.  Nothing in my garden has sprouted yet.  My cabbage and broccoli plants are growing, but nothing that I planted from seeds is showing any sign of life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Catching Up

Well, I have just come to the conclusion that I am going to be a once a week blogger.  I write all kinds of blog posts in my head, but when it comes time to sitting down (or standing at my kitchen counter) and typing my thoughts, I just can't seem to fit it in!

So here is a catch-up post!

We celebrated Clay's 15 Birthday last week.
We began the day with a special breakfast of doughnuts from Shipley's.  Next, Clay opened his presents.  He enjoyed a leisurely day of trying out his new gifts and working in the barn.  His siblings did his chores for him, and we all had a delicious birthday lunch at our local Thai restaurant.  Later, we had cake and ice cream!  Yum!  I think he had a great day!


 Enjoying the breakfast doughnuts

 Opening gifts

 This year, Jimmy did the birthday shopping for Clay.  As I wrapped his gifts, I must admit that I had no idea what most of them were!  He got a welder and all kinds of supplies and tools for that.
Interesting things!

15 Candles

Born to Run 5K
Saturday morning we all drove to Ripley (over an hour away) to run a 5K.  The weather was really awful!  It was cold and rainy, and the wind was really strong.  Sam and I opted not to run once we got there.  I knew that he would be miserable, and that running 3.1 miles in those conditions could very easily stretch into 45 minutes or longer with an unhappy 8 year old.  However, Jimmy and the other children were hard core!  And they joined over 150 other people and braved the elements.  They all had great running times.

A Visit From My Parents
Sunday afternoon my parents came for a short visit.  They came bearing gifts (two beautiful ferns for my front porch, a marshmallow shooting gun for Sam, and various fun things for Leah) and some special items from my grandmother who recently passed away.  We enjoyed lunch and visiting together.  

My Garden
I am not sure if it's going to grow!  I covered each plant last week when the temperature dipped into the twenties one night.  Those plants look ok, but none of my seeds have sprouted!  It is almost time to put some other plants in.  I plan to do major work in my flower beds around the house this Saturday.  I'll have to get to the garden planting another day.

Bible Study
I finished the B90 yesterday!  It actually took me 92 days, but that's close!  That was my 4th time to read the Bible through in 90ish days.
Today I started a new Bible study, and inductive study of women of the Bible.  It is different than what I have done for a long time, but I plan to stick with it.  When it is finished, I want to resume copying the  New Testament.

I am still doing the marathon build-up mileage running plan.  Last week's total miles were 15.  I was supposed to do a total of 18, but it didn't happen.  This week's plan is 3,4,3,4,6.  I fully intend to get in all of those runs!  I ran 4 yesterday, and I plan to run 3-4 with Lynn this afternoon.

See y'all in a week!  :)  But, hopefully, sooner!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Was Spontaneous!

Last Thursday when I was nearing Olivia's college campus, I saw a huge flashing sign that read:

Caution!  Runners! 
March 22
5K, 10K, 15K

Hmmmm……I thought……the girls and I should run that race!  And…..I won't tell Jimmy what we have planned.  We will be spontaneous, sign up for the race, and tell Jimmy and the kids back home after we are all done!

I was so proud of myself and my spontaneity!

Friday night I went to the packet pickup location, signed us up, got our bib numbers and race shirts, and we were all set.  I signed up Tiana for the 5K, and Olivia, Julie, and myself for the 10K.

The race start/finish was less than a half mile from Olivia's campus, so we just walked to the start.  Three of Olivia's XC teammates were there to run too.  The race was the Strawberry Classic, and they served tons of strawberries!  The race course wound all through the shady neighborhoods surrounding the campus, and at one point we ran right by Olivia's dorm.  So much fun!

 Four sleepy girls before the race

 Flats of strawberries on the post-race refreshments table

 Three sweet girls, ready to run!

 After the race, enjoying the strawberries

 When all the racers were finished, they began giving away flats of strawberries.  I got this flat for Olivia to share with her friends at the dorm.  

Julie and Olivia won first and second in their age group.  
The medals have strawberries on them!

I texted Jimmy right before the race to tell him not to worry if I did not answer my phone for a couple of hours.  I told him we were doing something spontaneous, and we would tell him all about it soon. I wanted to surprise him, but I also knew he might worry if neither Olivia, Julie, or I answered our phones.  He and the other children were running a race back home, and I knew that we would be calling me to share their results.

He sent me two texts with guesses… he thought that we may be enjoying a manicure/pedicure/massage, and the then the second text said,

"I hope you win the race!"

He guessed!

But that's ok.  I still did something fun and unplanned.  We enjoyed our morning so much!

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Happy Day

Julie and I (and one of Julie and Olivia's friends) are visiting Olivia at college! We left for the airport yesterday morning at 3 AM.  I was so busy packing and getting things ready for my family to be without me for a few days, that I only slept 2 hours before it was time to go.  I drank lots of coffee yesterday.
We were so happy to see Olivia, even though she has not been back to school for even a week yet.  Julie and Tiana are staying in the dorm with Olivia, so they are getting to spend a good bit of time with her.  I have spent the afternoon doing laundry for Olivia and her roommate and ironing some of her clothes.  It makes me happy to be doing things for Olivia.  She is studying right now, but later on we are taking Olivia out to eat supper with us.  Then we are all going to attend some activities that they have planned here at the school tonight.
I miss my other children and Jimmy too, but I am having a happy day with my oldest.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Some Fun From Last Week

Last week was our Spring Break, and we had a fun-filled week.  The highlight of course, was having Olivia home from college for the week.  

We spent a couple of days in the Huntsville area visiting one of Olivia's new college friends and his family.  Now we are all friends!  It was nice getting to know such a friendly and kind family that are also brothers and sisters in Christ.  
While we were there, Jimmy took Leah, Sam, and Clay to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.  Later that night we enjoyed a delicious meal with the Copeland family and spent a few hours just visiting and playing a new (to us) game.

 game fun

 more game fun

 more game fun

 more game fun--even though Clay doesn't appear to be having fun at the moment!

 at the Space Center

 at the Space Center

 at the Space Center

 future astronauts!

 even more game fun!

Danielle, Julie, and I did not play any games--we chatted and watched Danielle draw with her cool computer/drawing pad/tablet/thingy!

The last couple of days of our Spring Break were spent shopping with Olivia (getting her a dress and accessories for her Spring Banquet at school) and planning and planting my small garden.

Pictures to come of the garden!

Friday, March 14, 2014


Over the last several years we have dabbled a little bit in gardening.  We have planted two or three small gardens in two different locations.  We have planted herbs only.  We have planted tomatoes only in a couple of different locations as well.  Julie asked if we could have a garden again this summer.  Jimmy and I agreed, but this time I am going to take a more active role.  I have been reading about gardening in our area of the state (mostly via the Mississippi State gardening website), and I have created a gardening notebook.

Our garden is going to be a small one by gardening standards, but it will be the largest one that we have ever put in.  20ft. x 25ft.  I hope to yield just enough produce to eat each day that the harvest is ready.  I am not trying to put up food to last us all winter!  However, with the tomatoes, that's a different story.  I have canned tomatoes and/or salsa for the last 3 years, and I am setting out 24 tomato plants in our garden this year with the hopes of having enough to yield to eat each day as well as can some for the future.  We will see!  I may be buying tomatoes from a local farmer to supplement mine in order to can.

We are planting small amounts of the following:  
green beans
sweet corn

I will observe which of these plants do well, and increase or eliminate my planting accordingly for next year.  

So far Jimmy has staked off the boundaries of the garden and poisoned the grass.  He plans to till up the ground this weekend, and I will plant the broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and potatoes.  I have a list of what to plant, when all ready.  I drew a grid on paper of my garden plan.  I plan to keep many notes of what I am doing this year, how much I spend, etc., so I can learn from my mistakes and better plan for next year.

It will be a learning experience and a work in progress.

I hope our garden will grow!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Amanda Price 5K/10K/Fun Run

Last Saturday, for the first time in a long time, our entire family (all seven us, including Olivia) participated in a local race.  The Amanda Price event had a 5K, a 10K, and a 1/2 Mile Fun Run.  I ran the 10K, Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, and Clay ran the 5K, and Leah and Sam ran the 1/2 Mile Fun Run.

It was a beautiful day for a race.  It was nice and sunny, and the temperature was pleasantly cool.
Here are some photo highlights of the fun morning.

 Sam, Me, and Leah

 Sam, Jimmy, and Leah

 Leah and Sam running the Fun Run

 Sam and Leah after their run

 Rod, from Rod's Racers.
Rod took over 300 pictures of this event.  He has a website and a Facebook page that promotes running throughout the state of Mississippi. 

 Clay and I are enjoying a snack after the race.

 It was good to visit with Esther and her girls.

 Olivia and Jimmy
It was GREAT having Olivia with us!

Julie, receiving her award.

We visited the new Trails and Treads store in New Albany after the race.  The rest of our busy day included taking Sam to a birthday party and then attending our family Bible study at the Johnsey's house that night.

It was a wonderful day with our complete family.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Running Errands With Small Children

Today I have a post over at The Homeschool Classroom.  I talk about running errands with small children.  While I don't have to do that anymore, I did run all over town with up to 5 children in tow for many, many years.  The hardest years for me were when Olivia, Julie, and Clay were little.

Click here to read all about it!

Happy Friday---it really is a happy Friday for us, because Olivia is coming home tonight for Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Running Is Getting Fun Again

After the St. Jude Marathon fiasco (when the race was cancelled because of inclement weather--FREEZING COLD TEMPERATURES, but Jimmy, Leanna, and I ran 26.2 miles anyway), I was pretty much scarred for life from running-- A. long distances and B.  outside if it was below 40 degrees.  In fact, I have run outside only 3 times since December 7:  one 10 mile run on January 1, and two other 6 mile runs over 6 weeks ago.  I took a break from running altogether for over two weeks, and I have run a little bit here and there while also doing T25 workouts up until 3 weeks ago.

But three weeks ago I began a simple, very low mileage running plan, and I am happy to say that I have stuck with it.  Even though I have not run outside yet, running is beginning to be fun again.  I like having a running plan with blocks to check off. Like I said, the mileage is very low, but it is doable, and I will gradually build back up to running 30+ miles a week.  I would like to run another marathon.  I know I said never again, but time has a way of diminishing bad memories!  I don't have one picked out, but I do want to run another one.

So.  In keeping with making running fun again, I recently signed up our entire family for 2 races.  The first one is this Saturday, the Amanda Price 5K/10K/Fun Run.  Olivia will be home for Spring Break, so all seven of us are running.  Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, and Clay are running the 5K, I am running the 10K (just to get my long run in this week in a fun way!), and Leah and Sam are running the 1/2 mile Fun Run.

And, I signed all seven of us up for the Coke 10K!  This will be Sam's very first time to run a 10K, and I am so excited that our entire family will be running Koach's race.  Leah and Sam began training for the 10K yesterday.  They are following the Commit to Be Fit Coke 10K Facebook page training plan.  It is for beginners.  The first week's training is 4 days of running/walking, 20 minutes a day for 3 days and then 30 minutes on the 4th day.  Right now they are running on our treadmills, but as soon as it warms up, I will take them to the park.  I am looking forward to running outside myself!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


 My grandmother, Meme, passed from this life on Friday.  She will be greatly missed!

My mother has tirelessly taken care of Meme for the last few years, and she set a great example of compassion and caring as she served my grandmother.

As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 7:1-2
"A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one's birth; better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart."

Gathering with family and friends to mourn the loss of a loved one always causes everyone to reflect on their own lives as they remember with fondness the live of the loved one who has just passed.  Death and funerals remind us of the brevity of life, and the importance of living a life that brings glory to God.

Ecclesiastes concludes with this:
"Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all."

Olivia and Meme

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Blast From the Past: Wheel of Fortune

For some reason this afternoon, one of my children asked me where my tape was of my appearance on Wheel of Fortune.  I looked and looked, and after about 20 minutes, I found it!  Jimmy actually transferred the original VHS to a DVD.  It has been years since we watched the recording, and I am not sure that Sam and Leah have ever seen it!

For those of you who don't know me personally, or maybe you do, but you never knew this--I was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune over 15 years ago.  I was pregnant with Clay, and going to Los Angeles was a treat for Jimmy and me!

I saw on TV that Wheel of Fortune would be holding tryouts in our area (Jackson, MS).  The instructions were to go by Burger King and pick up a postcard.  I filled out one for both Jimmy and myself and mailed them to the local TV station that was hosting the tryout.  They randomly chose postcards and called those people to invite them to a group tryout.  I am not sure why I even put Jimmy's name on a postcard.  He was a fellow, and it's not like he could just leave the hospital and go try out for Wheel of Fortune.

So the TV station called and asked to speak to Jimmy.  I said, "Are you calling for Wheel of Fortune tryouts?" The lady said that she was, and I begged her to let me come instead.  I explained that he could not leave work, and I was totally available.  She agreed!  And so I went to the tryout!

The tryout was held at a hotel, and I am guessing about 100 people were there.  I really can't remember all of the details.  We took a written test (solving word puzzles), we stood up and introduced ourselves with enthusiasm, and then they narrowed us down to a much smaller number (I can't remember…20-30 maybe?).  Then we played a couple of rounds of Wheel of Fortune complete with a cardboard wheel.  It was so much fun!  They told us that if we were not selected to be on the show, we would never hear from them again. But, if they did choose us to be a contestant, we would be called two weeks prior to the date that they needed us in California.  And, it may be 2 months to a year (I think that was the time frame) before they called us.

So, I was excited for a couple of weeks, and then I got busy with my life, and I forgot.  I also got pregnant with Clay, and my life was consumed with taking care of a 3 year old, a just turned 1 year old, and trying not to vomit all day.  (Actually that was my life for all five pregnancies, all day "morning sickness" and vomiting, but that is another story!)

Sometime in early October of 1998, I got the the call!  I was selected to be a contestant!  I wrote down the dates and then I called Delta Airlines.  (This was back when you called and talked to a real live person to buy airplane tickets!)  I was so excited!  I told the reservations agent that it was going to be my first time to fly! and that I was going to be on Wheel of Fortune!  Then I called and made our hotel reservations, asked my parents to keep Olivia and Julie, and asked Jimmy to beg the hospital to let him go with me!

We packed our bags, I prayed that I wouldn't throw up on the airplane, and we were off!  Jimmy and I enjoyed a few days in Los Angeles, and the filming of Wheel of Fortune was the highlight for me.  I also hoped and prayed that I would not throw up on the set or even backstage of Wheel of Fortune, and thankfully, I did not!  (I was sick plenty at our hotel and other destinations though.)

The day on the Wheel of Fortune set was fun.  It was an all day affair.  We had orientation, practice, lunch, hair and make-up touch up, and then the recording of the actual shows.  A week's worth of shows were recorded in one day.  I can't remember how we were put into our groups of three for each show, but I do remember we drew numbers to see which group went on each day.  I was part of the Tuesday recording.

When Sam was watching the show today, he said, "Mama.  You have such an accent!"  I did sound pretty country.  I am sure that I still do!  We all enjoyed watching my show today, and I even forgot a couple of the puzzles until some of the letters were filled in--and I had already solved them!  On the show I solved all of the puzzles but one, and I was also the big winner.  Which meant that I picked a letter (I think I got an E) and after attempting to solve the final puzzle, I was able to look to see what my grand prize would have been.  At the time, $25,000 was the grand prize.  My prize (that I did not win) was a trip for 10 (I think) to Lake Tahoe.  I won $11,500 cash and prizes, and that cash helped pay our bills the last year of Jimmy's cardiology fellowship. My prizes included a big screen TV, and I mean the kind that was big…in a brown cabinet that sat on the floor like a huge piece of furniture, and a DVD player (which at the time I had no idea what that was).  We still have that DVD player.

Here is my final puzzle.  If you have not seen the recording of my show (or if you forgot!), you can guess.

I was given R,S,T,L,N,E.  I also guessed B,P,O.  I think I guessed P.  Anyway, the letters below are all I had.

_ E _
_ _ _ _ N

What do you think it is?

For a trip for 10 to Lake Tahoe!  Ha!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The 10 Minute Challenge

I had a brainstorm this morning while making me daily To-Do list.  There are always these little odd jobs that I want accomplished, but I never seem to make the time to get to them.  So, I had the bright idea to make a list of these tasks, and then enlist my wonderful children to help me.

Each morning during our Bible study time, I always go over the Plan For the Day with my children.  I remind them of the day and date and whatever we have planned for that day…piano lessons, xc practice, errands, etc.  I also tell them our cleaning plan for the day (we don't clean house every day) and any other extra thing I need them to do that day.  This morning I announced that I had a really great idea to help Mama out!  One of my children said, "Great!  Like cleaning baseboards!" :)

I explained to them my idea of setting the timer for 10 minutes and doing one of the items on my list.  The 10 Minute Challenge!  Today we cleaned out our shoe baskets.  Those are baskets of shoes beside two of our doors that lead outside.  I have trained my family to put their shoes in that basket as they take them off, but periodically the shoe baskets get too full!  I like for them to have no more than two pairs of shoes in each basket at any given time, and I do not like for them to put their church shoes in there.

It took us less than 10 minutes and we were done.  Shoe baskets cleaned out and the extra shoes all put away in each person's closet.

Other items on my 10 Minute Challenge include:

  • various drawers throughout the house
  • the kitchen computer desk (where the children do all of the school and leisure computer work)
  • our magazine bucket 
  • a different magazine/Bible class material basket 
  • the kids' upstairs built in desks
I know that I will think of many more tasks to add to this list, but the drawers alone may take us a month!  I hope to have the 10 Minute Challenge 3 times a week.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Menu and Miles

I am following a Marathon Build-up Plan.  I began it last week.  It is a 18 week running plan that slowly builds up your mileage to 35 miles/week.  And then you are ready to begin a marathon plan.   I don't have a marathon scheduled.  I actually don't have any race scheduled, but I needed to begin somewhere.  This week's miles are:  4,4,4,3.  Plus I plan to do a T25 workout two days this week too.

I am not assigning days to the meals, but I have all the ingredients on hand to make the following suppers.

  • hummus and vegetable pizza on homemade pizza crust.  Recipe here.
  • black-eyed pea cakes, mashed potatoes, raw veggies and homemade dip.  Recipe here.
  • quinoa salad and pasta salad (not everyone in my family likes quinoa salad, but I love it!)  Recipe here.
  • minestrone.  Recipe here.
  • taco soup
  • baked fish, roasted potatoes (golden and sweet), salad
  • stir fry vegetables and brown rice
Be sure to visit OrgJunkie for more menu inspiration. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Sleepless Night

Well.  An almost sleepless night.

The night's drama began when our power went out due to a storm in our area about 7:30 PM.  The younger children freaked out, and I am not exaggerating!  It was really dark.  I don't know if street lights in town still work when the power goes out (like are they on some sort of generator back-up or something), but out here in the country, when the power goes out, it is dark. 

So we used flashlights and candles.  We visited with one another a little bit (we had the Olympics on prior to the power outage), and I read some of Johnny Tremain to Leah.  Sam fell asleep in Jimmy's lap before 9:00.  By 9:30, we just all went to bed!

I woke up at 10:30 when the power came back on.  Then I slept on and off (many people in our house were coughing, coughing, coughing, and the dogs were howling and barking) until 1:30 AM.  That is when Leah woke up me to tell me her ear hurt (a slight infection in her newly pierced ear) and that she could not sleep because she could not stop coughing.  Really?  I could not sleep because she could not stop coughing!

Leah and I worked on her ear, and I convinced her to take some cough medicine.  I cleaned the kitchen and started the dishwasher (we had not done that in the pitch black dark before going to bed, and anyway I couldn't have started the dishwasher without power anyway.)  I set up the coffee pot to come on in a few hours. We turned off all the lights that had come back on at 10:30.  We had a cup of tea.  We read Facebook.  She watched me play spider solitaire.  And finally at 4:00 AM, I told her that we had to go to sleep!

So I slept until 6:50 when I thought I heard Sam calling for me.  (He wasn't.  I must have been dreaming).  He actually slept until 7:30.  Thankfully, Jimmy is off so we are not doing school today.  I need to run and make a grocery list.

As you can see, I am putting off running by blogging instead.  Even after almost 7 years of consistent running, I still struggle most days with the motivation to exercise.  I am always, always happy once I am done, but it's the getting started that is hard.  I used to think that I did not need a marathon or half-marathon looming in the future to motivate me to run.  But I have changed my mind.  I think I do need that accountability and I need the weather to warm up so I can meet friends to run in the early morning.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has left comments, emailed me, texted me, and contacted me on Facebook with your suggestions for my Moms' Night Out talk.  Thank you!  I have a place to begin now.  I really appreciate your ideas.

So.  I am off to the treadmill.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Moms' Night Out Ideas

I have been asked to speak at our homeschool organization's Moms' Night Out in April about planning and organizing.  I must admit that I am nervous about this.  While I can talk non-stop with a friend while running or just visiting in our homes or somewhere else, I actually have very little experience in speaking in front of a group.  Especially a group of fellow homeschooling mothers who expect to learn something from me!  Help!

Can you help me?  I am beginning to work on my presentation, and I need some input.  If you were coming to this meeting or a similar meeting, what topics would you like addressed?  Would you like handouts?  Should I focus on planning and organization only as it relates to homeschooling, or should I include homemaking tips as well?  Since my time is limited, what would be the three or four things you would definitely want addressed?

Thank you for your ideas!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Our Valentine's Day

Our family had a fun time celebrating Valentine's Day.  We all love each other very much, so it was nice to show that to one another.

We have a few Valentine's Day traditions...nothing fancy or Pinterest-worthy, but it's what we do.  Jimmy gives each child a large heart-shaped box of Russell Stover chocolates (which they love!), and I buy them something practical or educational (which they pretend that they like.)  I like to think that they like my gift as much as that chocolate!  Even if it is new running socks or underwear.  (Yes,  I gave the children underwear for Valentine's Day one year…I noticed while folding clothes that everyone needed some, so I that's what I added to the fun gift of chocolate!)  

This year I went the educational route.   Julie received a new cookbook; Clay a book with 101 knife-making designs; Leah a Fancy Nancy book; and Sam, a Pete the Cat book.  The children all made Valentine's for each other, and I bought pretty Valentine's for them.

Jimmy took them Valentine's shopping earlier in the week, and the children bought some candy for Jimmy and me too.  Julie lovingly made homemade gummy squares for her siblings and the very best ever homemade chocolate peanut butter cups for me.  They are so delicious! 

 My Valentine's Day gifts from my sweet family.

 A heart-shaped chocolate pancake I made for our breakfast--Leah and I cut only two pancakes into heart shapes, the rest we just left as circles.  

My sweet gift from my dear husband:
My favorite candy of all inside my favorite drink (empty bottle) of all!

And now after all of this wonderful, delicious chocolate, I have got to make sure that I exercise every day!

As usual, the only sad part of the day was not being able to share it with sweet Olivia!  But when we visited her a couple of weeks ago, Jimmy took her a heart-shaped box of chocolate.  She was so excited, and did not eat it until Valentine's Day.  I sent her several Valentines in the mail along with some heart-shaped cookies (I did not bake them. I ordered them from Cheryl's--on sale, with a coupon and free shipping!)  We talked to her on Valentine's Day, and she reported that she had had such a fun week receiving packages.

Our family ended our special day by dining at Chick-Fil-A.  All together.  It really was nice.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sam's 8th Birthday

About three weeks ago, we celebrated Sam's 8th birthday. We began the day like we always do for birthdays, with a special breakfast and present opening.  Julie crocheted Sam a red hat, and Clay made him a knife.  He spent the day playing with his new toys, and enjoying his siblings doing his chores for him!  We ate his birthday lunch at Abner's, and then he had a few little boys over to play and eat birthday cake.

It was a very cold day, but Sam insisted on the boys playing outside!  So I asked all of the Mamas to make sure they brought warm clothes for their sons.  I let them play outside 40 minutes, and then I rung the dinner bell for them all to come inside for cake and snacks.  I think it was 23 degrees that day!

I think Sam had a super day!  

 Sam and Leah

 The birthday boy

Sam and Julie

 Sam and Clay

 Blowing out the candles
Julie made his delicious cake.

 The little boys, all dressed in their coveralls and ready to play in the woods.

The birthday table
No, it's not Pinterest worthy--but Sam liked it!